April 20th: Cubs’ Comeback Goes Up In Smoke; Fall to Cards 5-3

The Cubs came into Wednesday’s game against the Cards with high expectations, but failed to pull through, and saw the Cards hand them their 4th loss of the season.

Here’s how it went down:

With Cubs’ 5th starter Kyle Hendricks on the hill, St. Louis was surely focused on striking early. They would do exactly that, getting out to an early 2-0 lead after a Matt Holliday homer. Then, in the 2nd, things started to look really shaky for Hendricks. After a wild pitch allowed Yadier Molina to cross home, Hendricks surrendered a weak single to the opposing pitcher, Carlos Martinez.

Later, in the 4th, the Cubs saw a sign of light as the struggling Anthony Rizzo delivered a monster solo home run to get the Cubs on the board. This came after Rizzo put a charge into one in the 1st, but was robbed at the wall by an outstanding catch to keep the would be 2-run shot in the yard. Unfortunately, the dark clouds would roll in shortly thereafter, sending this one into a 3 and a half hour rain delay.

After the skies cleared, the Cubs showed some signs of life, putting 2 more runs on the board in the 8th. But alas, the Cards would hold on to take this one on the wings of a strong performance by closer Trevor Rosenthal in the 9th.

Takeaway:

This was a tremendous bounce-back series for the Cubbies. After dropping 2 to the Rockies the week before, it means a lot for this ball club to be able to refocus and take a series against their biggest rival, St. Louis. And while Rizzo appeared to break out of his recent slump with a big day at the plate Wednesday, some of the concerns from last week seem to persist.

Most notably, at least for me, is the struggle of Jorge Soler. In one at-bat in the final game of this series, Soler struck out. Shocking, I know. I don’t want to be too hard on Jorge just yet, so I’m going to leave it there.

Also, Kyle Hendricks continued to not look so good on the mound. For him to struggle with the command of his sinker is a big issue, as he so often relies on it to get ground ball outs. In addition, the 5 1/3 innings we got from Hendricks yesterday was the first time this season that the starter didn’t go at least 6 for the Cubs. Of course, the 14 game streak of 6+ IP by the starter was remarkable (hadn’t seen it since 1910), and we can’t be too upset with Kyle here.

The last point I’d like to make is that we have sucked in day games so far this year. So, let’s cut that out…

On to Cincy.

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